Euobserver / meps approve disputed tobacco law

&#x201C Other countries such as Canada, Australia or the USA have far lower rates of smoking than the EU, so reducing smoking is attainable,&#x201D said European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, in his opening address to the plenary before the vote.

Borg said the three countries reduced smoking by including large picture warnings and by putting restrictions on flavours.

But approved amendments tabled by conservative, centre right, and liberal MEPs weakened the commission&#x2019 s original plans to slap an immediate ban on menthols and slims, regulate e cigarettes as medicinal products, and increase the warning size labels, among other legislative measures.

Menthol flavoured cigarettes, which are said to facilitate smoking in young people because it numbs the cough reflex, will instead be phased out over an eight year period.

Advertising for electronic cigarettes will also be restricted, but a proposal that would have seen restricted them to medical use only was rejected.

Borg noted e cigarettes have fewer regulatory restrictions than shower gel or a bar of soap, despite being a product that sees nicotine and other substances inhaled directly into the lungs.

MEPs also removed a number of so called delegated acts, preventing EU lawmakers from more easily updating the directive after it becomes law.

&#x201C We the parliament have taken away the opportunity for the commission to act in the interest of public health when situations change,&#x201D Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter, a vice chair on the public health committee, told this website.

He said the bill is weaker than the commission&#x2019 s proposal but that at least the MEPs agreed to ban all additives in cigarettes.

&#x201C It limits the tobacco company&#x2019 s possibilities to add things in cigarettes to make them more attractive,&#x201D said Schlyter.

Additives essential to produce tobacco, such as sugar, would be authorised, as would other explicitly listed substances in stated concentrations.

Packs of fewer than 20 cigarettes would be banned though deputies decided to keep slim cigarettes but slapped a ban on packaging designed to attract young women.

Warning labels are to cover 65 percent of the pack down from the 75 percent originally proposed by the commission. Such labels currently cover around 30 40 percent of a pack.

&#x201C The tobacco industry lobbied until yesterday hard to get them warning labels to move to the bottom so that you can&#x2019 t see them in shops,&#x201D said UK centre left MEP Linda McAvan, the parliament&#x2019 s lead negotiator on the file,


McAvan, for her part, described the lobbying tactics from e cigarette companies as particularly aggressive.

Emails sent to her from the UK based e cigarette company Totally Wicked displayed subject lines like &#x201C Better read this McAvan. Because ignoring it will be your downfall.&#x201D

Green MEPs last week said the tobacco lobbying on deputies requires greater transparency and proposed to revise the parliament&#x2019 s code of conduct rules by introducing a zero tolerance level for gifts received by the industry.

MEPs are entitled to receive gifts worth up to &#x20AC 150.

Philip Morris International (PMI), the world&#x2019 s largest tobacco company, reportedly met with some 233 MEPs in an effort to weaken the bill.

It told this website that the broad media allegations of extensive lobbying are unfounded. It noted that it spent between &#x20AC 1 to &#x20AC 1.25 million on lobbying efforts in 2012.

But transparency watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) on Tuesday denounced the stated figure as bogus.

The watchdog says the real estimated costs of PMI lobbying in 2012 might have been &#x20AC 350,000 higher than declared.

Negotiations with member states on the bill are due to start next with both sides hoping to have an agreement before the end of the year.

Protest against inclusion of electronic cigarettes in the european tobacco products directive

Protest against inclusion of electronic cigarettes in the European Tobacco
Products Directive

supports all peaceful demonstrations and protests with a main goal to protect the health of smokers and ex smokers who have successfully substituted smoking with e cigarette use. Therefore, we share with you the announcement of a protest organized by the UK community and supported by several others, to be held in Brussels on Wednesday 10th July 2013. Here is the announcement

On Wednesday 10th July 2013, vapers from across Europe will meet together in Brussels to protest, peacefully, against the potential inclusion of Electronic Cigarettes as Medicines in the Revision to the Tobacco Products Directive.

They will meet up in Place Luxembourg (subject to the appropriate permissions, which have been applied for) at 12 30 local time, to prepare for a startling and memorable demonstration of what classifying e cigs as medicines will actually mean the continued early deaths of up to 2,000 smokers every day of every year. At 13 00, each vaper present will burst one or more black balloons, each one signifying the life of a smoker who, had they been allowed to switch to electronics cigarettes by choice and desire, would reach their full span, but, because of classification as medicines will die early, as a smoker.

We hope to be joined by MEPs and other interested parties. Please join us.

For details and updates on this protest,check here